“It is up to each of us to say ‘yes’ to this gift [of mercy] God offers and to let this gift transform our lives.”
– Fr. Bill
The Name of God is Mercy
When God revealed the Divine Name to Moses, we are told in the Book of Exodus by God: The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ex 34:6)
Throughout the Old Testament, this theme is repeated with the emphasis always placed on mercy and on God’s love, which never tires of forgiving. Jesus, the image of God, came to reveal a God abundant in mercy.
The German theologian, Cardinal Walter Kasper, stated that what characterizes and distinguishes God best of all is mercy. This has not always been communicated well. Too often, God has been portrayed as server or uninterested. Many have tried to focus our attention on God’s mercy. St. John XXIII sought “the medicine of mercy” over “that of severity” in inaugurating the Second Vatican Council. St. John Paul II wrote his second encyclical, Rich in Mercy, and canonized St Faustina Kowalska known for her popular image of and devotion to Divine Mercy. Pope Francis has made this a constant theme. “To show mercy,” the Pope said, “is an essential feature of God. This is precisely how he shows his omnipotence.”
Mercy is “an essential feature of God.” It is “a key word for God’s actions towards us,” because “God reveals his power, above all, in mercy and through forgiving us. Mercy is the most surprising attribute of our Creator and Redeemer.”
Mercy is offered but never forced. It is up to each of us to say “yes” to this gift God offers and to let this gift transform our lives. Remember the parable of the debtor who is forgiven much, but refuses to forgive another a little? If God’s name is mercy, so must ours be as well.